BIZCHINA / Top Biz News

UK offers aid to improve life in poorest areas
(Mark South)
Updated: 2006-05-19 09:07

An aid package worth nearly US$200m over the next five years has been launched, with the aim of solving the problems of some of China's poorest and most vulnerable people.

Unveiled yesterday by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in Beijing, the Country Assistance Plan (CAP) for China will see China receive around 105 million pounds in aid from the British Government between now and 2011.

Western China will be the main beneficiary, with support for programmes tackling HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, solving water and sanitation problems and providing basic education in areas including Gansu, Sichuan, Henan, Yunnan and Xinjiang.

"When I visited China late last year I saw the achievements of Chinese people in increasing access to quality basic education, controlling tuberculosis, generating employment and responding to climate change, and I know the government of China is deeply concerned about these issues. I'm pleased that DFID can help find solutions," said Gareth Thomas, the UK's under-secretary of state for international development, in a speech recorded specially for the event.

According to head of DFID in China Adrian Davis, the CAP for China was devised with particular emphasis on the Millennium Development Goals, an internationally agreed list of targets for reducing poverty by 2015.

"We looked at the goals and decided which of the targets were the most pressing for China and which we were most able to help achieve," he said.

"The figures of money involved may sound large, but it actually represents less than 0.1 per cent of China's GDP  China doesn't need this in financial terms, but what we are able to offer is specific skills and approaches where we have knowledge and experience that China perhaps doesn't have."

In the field of education for example, the money will be spent on projects such as the construction of new schools, teacher training and improvement of education management and administration.

Thanking Britain for its contribution to tackling poverty in China, China's Ministry of Commerce spokesman Yin Zonghua said the government was committed to eradicating poverty and associated problems.

"The projects we have running such as the AIDS prevention programmes in Yunnan and Sichuan and the basic education project in Gansu are an example of how successful we can be if we work together hand in hand," he said.
 "We are determined to work together with all countries including Britain to solve these problems." 

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